Breakups are usually not easy... even when they aren't messy. Leaving someone behind who you once thought you'd build a future with just sucks.
You have to navigate the feelings of missing an ex, live the infamous single life and then, figure out how to work up the nerve to let a new person into your heart.
That moving on process is also why it's incredibly difficult for lots of people to agree to be friends when they break up.
But exes can be friends. I repeat, exes can be friends.
Just ask Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, who have managed to keep up a friendship despite their public breakup.
Here are a few ways to tell whether or not you and your ex can move forward with an actual platonic friendship:
1. Your breakup wasn't messy.
Not all breakups are created equal. Sometimes, people end their relationship for reasons like boredom, growing apart, opposing lifestyles, moving long-distance or simply just missing the single life.
If there weren't any major violations like cheating or lying, then you already have a good foundation for remaining friends.
2. There's no history of physical or emotional abuse.
3. You aren't sleeping together.
4. You haven't been in a "make up to break up" situation.
If you've had this type of up-and-down relationship, then the "just friends" stage is likely part of that cycle.
5. The relationship didn't end because of boredom.
Boring baes make for boring homies. It doesn't change just because you guys break up.
If you and your ex always had a great time together, this means he or is she is probably an all-around enjoyable person.
6. Enough time has passed since the breakup.
The immediate post-breakup stage usually involves a lot of emotional processing and mulling over the ups and downs. There's no point trying to rush through that stage: Hindsight is 20/20, so just let it happen.
Your memories are a part of life. Eventually, though, they won't be at the forefront of your mind.
You'll be a much better friend to someone when you're not still dwelling on the ups and downs of your relationship together.
7. His or her new flame knows you exist.
If your ex is in a new relationship, that totally doesn't mean you two can't still be friends. What it DOES mean is your ex's new flame should totally be aware of the past between you two, as well as your current friendship.
Don't sleep on how clutch upfront honesty can be, and don't allow your ex to put you in a compromising position just because he or she isn't brave enough to be real about a platonic friendship.
8. You two had great communication.
That's important for friendships, too.
9. You genuinely like each other as people.
It wasn't just about the physical.
10. You know how to respect your ex's new relationship.
Not only should the new flame be aware you exist, but you should also take care to be respectful of what they have together.
Avoid any flirtatious behavior, excessive calling and "date night" types of outings.
Since you're an ex, you also aren't in the position to give your friend's new bae the third degree in the way a friend who has always been platonic possibly could.
It'll only look like you still want your ex back.
And you don't, right? So it's easy peasy.
11. You're comfortable around each other.
But not too comfortable.
12. You've seen how well your ex treats the friends he or she already has.
You want that respect.
13. You were already friends before the breakup.
You already have the foundation.
14. You don't mind giving your ex time if he or she agrees to be friends, but just isn't ready right now.
Just because you've gone through the moving on process and healed from the relationship, that doesn't mean your ex has done so in the same time frame.
Giving him or her that space – even though you're ready – is how you show just how great of a friend you really are.
15. In the relationship, he or she was always there for you.
Although it should be a given in relationships, not all people experience a partner who really knows how to show up when they need it the most.
If your ex was always compassionate and present while you were going through your toughest times, that's a really good sign.